August 05, 2002

My weekend was filled with realizations, big and small. On Friday I took my Audi TT in for service. Some of the gauges were acting screwy and it needed to be diagnosed. I was given a VW Passat as a loaner car as it was likely the service would require an over the weekend stay. That evening my wife drove it and we both agreed that it was a much nicer car than we expected.

Saturday morning we took it out for our errands and as a result managed to lock ourselves out of our house. So we went by the Audi dealer to get my garage door opener out of the TT. While we were there we decided to look at Passats and the Audi A6 just for fun. As a result we had to deal with the salesman we’ve had out there before. He does not listen and is very good at a subtle hard sell. After about an hour and twenty minutes we had the information we needed and told him we were going to lunch. After we had lunch and went home I called and left a message for him saying that we decided to keep the TT, thanks anyway.

While I was out later that afternoon he called and badgered my wife about our decision. She told him our reasons why and he said that he’d call me on Monday. Obviously he feels that he will have better luck with me, another male, than with my wife. I am looking forward to shooting him down. I don’t like it when people dismiss my wife out of hand.

As a result of our encounter with this salesman, my wife got to some great new understandings about herself. The men in her family behave in much the same was as this man does. Abrupt, rude, incapable of listening, and condescending too boot. Dealing with the salesman had pushed some of her old father/brother buttons. We talked about this for quite a while and she got to some great realizations. One of the biggest was that realization that we don’t like situations where we feel like we have to take care of the seller, rather than feeling like they are taking care of us.

Later in the day we decided to look for a new computer desk for me. Currently I am using a very cheap and tiny corner desk that has no room for anything on it. After visiting a couple of stores we came home empty handed. (Why is it they have models on the floor, but none in stock, ever?) I was being very passive-aggressive by the time we were home again and she called me on it. After talking for a while I realized that it is extremely difficult for me to allow myself to have something new just for me. And as a consequence of this I want whatever I buy to be perfect. Since little in this world is perfect I have a great excuse to not buy anything and thereby save myself from having something new. Convoluted, but true.

After a very good discussion where I got down to the childhood memories and events that helped to create my feelings about getting new things I was able to cry out a lot of old hurts and let go of them. Michele helps to create a wonderfully safe place for me to open these old wounds and heal them with love and patience.

In the end we decided to get her a new desk and let me use the one I had built for myself years ago again. Currently she is using the hand-built one, because, well, I don’t like to have the best for myself. However she feels guilty having a good one when I don’t. She wants a different one and isn’t nearly as picky about this as I, so we found one for her right away and have ordered it. When it comes and I set it up she’ll have a great new desk, which takes care of her. And I’ll have my own desk again, which takes care of me.

We learned that we are more important than any salesmen or situation. Buying a car isn’t what it is about, having a relationship and an experience that takes care of us is what it is about. If the store we are at cannot make us feel cared for and listened to, then we’ll find another store. We are through being treated as if we owe the seller something. I also learned that I tend to not let myself have what I really want when I feel it is going to take away from someone else. I need to work at allowing myself to have the things I want and need and trust that the people around me will do the same.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.